So, as a dental provider I often find myself biting my tongue. Often times I find myself in a position where I want to educate a parent that is failing to follow all of the recommendations about their children’s teeth. I mean, this stuff is common knowledge right? The problem is, that even with PSA campaigns and health care practitioners trying to put as much information out there as possible, it isn’t common knowledge.
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is preventable. This is where we see very young children with cavities. I am talking one and two year olds. This occurs because kids are either put to bed with a bottle, or allowed to sip out of a bottle all day long. Even with milk, this is harmful! If your baby needs a bottle for soothing, it is best to use only water. Obviously, this is for times other than feeding milk or formula for a “meal”.
- Juices should not be given in bottles at full strength. Again, this is because of decay. Diluted is best.
- Introduce a sippy cup between 6-9 months of age. Once your child has the hang of it, you can transition from bottle to sippy cup, and then to a regular cup. Children should be off the bottle soon after they turn one.
- Babies need to have their teeth brushed too! Before teeth begin to erupt, a washcloth can be used to clean their gums, and to get them used to you touching their mouths.
- Limit soda, chocolate milk, juices, sports drinks and snacking on carbohydrates between meals. This is great for everyone, because the sugars in those items will stay on the teeth and can cause cavities in adults and children
- Babies are not born with the bacteria that causes cavities in their mouths. It has to be introduced, and commonly, this is from an adult sharing utensils with their babies.